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Toccata From Widor's 5th Symphonie

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Iain    0

I'm having problems deciding what publication to choose from widor's 5th symphony namely the toccata. I want some thing well laid out has anyone any ideas ?

 

many thanks

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andyorgan    0
I'm having problems deciding what publication to choose from widor's 5th symphony namely the toccata. I want some thing well laid out has anyone any ideas ?

 

many thanks

I'll get shot down for this, I know, but I use one of the early editions pub by Dover. I don't have any issues with clarity, good paper and well bound. You also get 5 symphonies in each volumer for about £12, as opposed to those hideoulsy overpriced French modern editions (I Have, it was £25 a while ago). There are some differences that may be worth noting, I went through my score and pencilled in some of the later changes, there's quite a few in the first movement of % and the last movement of 6.

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Davidb    0

Just the Toccata? UMP have it as a single movement (possibly Ed. Titterington) which would be £5-£6. It's well laid out, and very readable

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john carter    0
I'm having problems deciding what publication to choose from widor's 5th symphony namely the toccata. I want some thing well laid out has anyone any ideas ?

 

many thanks

I found the Warner Brothers version of Sym 1-5, ISBN 0-75799-464-4, more up to date than the Dover edition and similarly good value at £10.99. My copy came from Chappells. I haven't got the Warner version of 6-10, for which I use the Dover edition with various amendments pasted in. I must try again to find it sometime.

JC

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innate    0
Just the Toccata? UMP have it as a single movement (possibly Ed. Titterington) which would be £5-£6. It's well laid out, and very readable

I'm really not a fan of the Titterington edition. There's a misprint in the RH three notes before the recap. It's fussily edited and the layout in "landscape" format fails to make any significant advantage over the old French "portrait" format in that they both run to 10 pages. Unfortunately the Titterington one starts on the RHS resulting in an extra page turn. At least it's better than the version in The Organist’s Wedding Album (Cramer Music) which runs to 16 pages!

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Guest Cynic   
Guest Cynic
The Oxford Book of Wedding Music includes the Toccata. The score is well laid-out, but depending on your age, you may find the notes a bit too small.

 

 

I second this recommendation - the volume has plenty of other useful works too.

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Guest Barry Williams   
Guest Barry Williams

So far all the Board members responding to the query have written as though there was only one version of the Toccata. I understood that it exists in several versions. Someone told me that a manuscript was owned by Flor Peeters, but that this was the fifth version, the differences being, interestingly, in the staccato markings - which are often wrongly interpreted as marcato.

 

Can anyone enlighten me on this please?

 

Barry Williams

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andyorgan    0
So far all the Board members responding to the query have written as though there was only one version of the Toccata. I understood that it exists in several versions. Someone told me that a manuscript was owned by Flor Peeters, but that this was the fifth version, the differences being, interestingly, in the staccato markings - which are often wrongly interpreted as marcato.

 

Can anyone enlighten me on this please?

 

Barry Williams

I haven't got both versions I own to hand, but from what I remember, in the Toccata it is the articulation that differs. The long held high F at the end is also ommitted from the early version I have.

 

To list a few changes in the 1st movement: (Dover (which doesn't have bar numbers!)/the more modern French published one)

-MM 76 / 69

-pedal in bar 3 and similar places first two notes ar staccato / slurred

-5 bars before 1st time bar, 3rd beat chord of A flat / has an added G flat in it

-just before variation 2, no change in tempo / addition of Adagio

-varation 4 is marked for 16' and 4' in the pedal / pedal 8' only (this one makes quite a difference)

-at the scherzando there are some differences in the octave placement of the As in the pedal (some have the ped part above the bottom of the left hand)

-there are various other additions of dynamics and occasioanl changes of manuals and some met marks and tempo changes that are different

 

The one that has always puzzled me is just after the last key change back to F minor. In the second bar after this, instead of playing the Fs in the pedal twice, Ian Tracey changes the second one to an F flat. I rather like it (and confess to having played it once or twice), but I haven't found an edition which has it in yet. Any offers?

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So far all the Board members responding to the query have written as though there was only one version of the Toccata. I understood that it exists in several versions. Someone told me that a manuscript was owned by Flor Peeters, but that this was the fifth version, the differences being, interestingly, in the staccato markings - which are often wrongly interpreted as marcato.

 

Can anyone enlighten me on this please?

 

Barry Williams

 

I have a least two editions based on the original publications (I also have the Titterington, which I actually find harder to use because of its landscape layout). It is interesting that there are many discrepancies between the editions, and as I have always understood it, these were Widor's own revisions. As far as the Toccata is concerned these are matters ranged from the tempo to actual notes. However, looking at various editions of the other symphonies is even more interesting, I have at least two versions of each symphonie, and in some cases three (French edition, Dover and Kalmus), all different in many respects. I don't have them in front of me, but if I remember correctly in the second or third symphonie there are even different movements compared to other editions. Again it is my understanding (and this has been gained by word of mouth and opinion, so I cannot back it up with authoritative proof, and I'm sure the more learned here will correct me if I'm wrong) that the French editions are the latest versions of Widor's own proofing and the Dover is a much earlier edition, but nevertheless no less interesting, in fact possible more so. One thing that is certain is that the various stages of development of the pieces are a rare chance to see a composer's revisions in print.

 

Jonathan

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andyorgan    0

There's quite a big rambling chunk in the middle of the last movement of the 6th which I manfully struggled to learn (its very fiddly), and I went to hear Gillian Weir play it, and her edition just missed it out (unlikely she chose to miss it out because she found it difficult!). The orchestral version of the same movement also omits it. To say I was a bit cheesed off was an understatement!

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innate    0
So far all the Board members responding to the query have written as though there was only one version of the Toccata. I understood that it exists in several versions. Someone told me that a manuscript was owned by Flor Peeters, but that this was the fifth version, the differences being, interestingly, in the staccato markings - which are often wrongly interpreted as marcato.

 

Can anyone enlighten me on this please?

 

Barry Williams

Titterington states categorically that no manuscript has been found. If I were Widor I don't think I would have recopied by hand for a revision rather than mark up an existing version with corrections/alterations.

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Jim Treloar    0

With all the expertise in transcribing from records these days, is there any benefit from listening to the well known recording by Widor himself. I speak as a non-player and I'm sure someone will say that he was very old when the recording was made and cannot be relied upon. Just a thought though.

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MusingMuso    0
With all the expertise in transcribing from records these days, is there any benefit from listening to the well known recording by Widor himself. I speak as a non-player and I'm sure someone will say that he was very old when the recording was made and cannot be relied upon. Just a thought though.

 

 

===============================

 

 

I've listened to it........just the once!

 

:lol:

 

MM

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===============================

I've listened to it........just the once!

 

:blink:

 

MM

 

I've listened to it more than once, but its quite a marathon at the speed he plays it! :lol:

 

However I do think modern players play it to fast (myself included!)

 

Jonathan

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Guest spottedmetal   
Guest spottedmetal
The Oxford Book of Wedding Music includes the Toccata.
Yes - very nice and clear edition to learn it from - and useful if one wants to do other popular highlights. However, it's worth getting a copy of the complete symphony as there is glorious lyrical music in there, almost entirely unknown and a garden of aural colours a great pleasure to walk through in private even if not to perform.

 

In parallel with the Widor 5/5 is the Boellman Suite Gothique and there you'll find a similarly confusing number of editions. I had a very nice edition which a visiting organist about a decade ago walked off with, leaving me with an old tattered, battered and torn Durand edition. Apart from the inconvenience of double page turnovers where pages were in half, I had forgotten the pleasure I missed in the lost edition. Ordering a new one online was a needle in a haystack. I assumed Novello was reliable but it was out of stock. They sent me the UMP edition which in landscape format is a real pain having so many page turnovers. Finally the Novello edition became available and looking at it was probably the one that I remembered, with helpful registration suggestions and clear crescendo graphics.

 

Apart from the destruction of organs through neglect, ignorance, willful and even professional vandalism, the Widor 5/5 is one of my raison d'etres, and as such, my intention being to promote renewed enthusiasm in both repertoire and in maintaining and making pipes . . . I hope that our moderators will forgive the rant which is bound to follow here . . .

 

For those who find 9 heavy reeds on a 32 stop instrument too loud, please do not read below! :lol: Content below may be disturbing to some . . . Government health warning: content below can seriously infect your audience.

 

Why are we satisfied, Classic FM style, in only hearing Widor 5/5? We NEVER (ordinarily) hear the other 4 movements and rarely hear anything of the other 7 symphonies. In performing exclusively the Widor Toccata we leave so much unheard and unappreciated.

 

The French symphonic writers and others of their ilk should be as well known as Beethoven, Brahms and Bruchner - but are not because they wrote for the organ not the orchestra. These composers should be heard in their own right, and their music appreciated equally on its own merits, and outside the ecclesiastical context as it was not written for church, (certainly Vierne - wasn't this a cause of his early departure from his post?) but merely for an instrument that is normally found in a church. This excludes many audiences - people who won't go inside a church on principle and immigrants of other religions.

 

The organ and its repertoire are dying as a result, and not capturing the popular imagination.

 

In my (I'd prefer to use capital letters here but appreciate that others don't like my Ophicliede voicing - apologies) "Be it! Be there! Do it!" philosophy this is at the core of my putting on concerts - I wanted to do them outside - certainly in places where a physically big pipe organ would be impractical if not impossible so with the best possible toaster if necessary to introduce the repertoire to new audiences, and not dumbing down by just doing highlights - doing whole things in their completeness. So Symphonies and Suites have to be performed in full, please! Candidates for promotion - Guilmant, Pierne, Gigout, Boellmann, Widor, Vierne and I'm sure that there are more.

 

In all of these compositions there are :o a :unsure: full :angry: gamut :P of :) colours :D and :lol: emotions. Young people nowadays often miss depth, only finding it in the instant gratification of the bass vibrations of nightclubs, and seek thrill and colour absent from our :blink: grey weather and grey lives :huh: . When I tried to exhort excellent performers here into beleiving that we can all have that Carlo Curley enthusiam within us, we just have to find it and project it from within ourselves, one member suggested that my style might risk someone asking me what hallucigonen I might be on . . . to which I replied "Who needs hallucinogens when life can be so real?"

 

That reality and colour is something that the Organ and its repertoire can bring. Organs that shake buildings, inspire awe and wonder! What is the attraction of playing an organ? Well a vegetarian instrument might be compared to the technicalities of a 2 seater Piper, but sitting at a giant console surrounded by knobs, buttons and lots to do with lots of things going on and making a ROAR . . . . is possibly like being at the controls of a 747, or a TGV running at dangerous speed or perhaps one of those mighty noisy dirty wonderful steam engines that inspired boys of former generations.

 

It's being in control of an almighty instrument, and that's why I'll defend a noisy wonderful Harrison and Harrison with the noisiest Ophicliede on earth till my dying day.

 

And grab audiences from anywhere and everywhere, unaccostomed to organ music to come and hear, even if I have to entice them with promises of an 1812 overture with explosions. And being dissatisfied with a three manual toaster, then I'll expand it - and if one is going to do that one might as well give the spectacle of doing it obscenely to five. And give audiences the pleasure of seeing organists taming the beast. We look for heros - St Georges who fight the dragon, St Michaels who battle with the devil, Jack and the Giant up the beanstalk, David and Goliath - the Organist and the Organ. Yes ORGANISTS CAN BE HEROS too . . . and need to put on the mantle of battle for audiences to be charmed, to propagate and multiply and so the organ and the repertoire to survive.

 

So - . . . . please don't just play that Toccata alone by itself! It's a brilliant start to entice audiences to come along and hear the rest that goes with it.

 

Are we seeing other changes too? With the introduction of vegetarian instruments in the 70s, and epitomised by 3 of 8 tonally vandalised instruments at Addington Palace which were neo-baroqued, has teaching more and more focussed on Bach and the wonders of Bach alone? Is this why modern teachers can't cope with a flesh-eating delayed action Harrison and Harrison on which they say Bach comes out as blancmange? Is it because classics like the Norman Cocker Tuba Tune, technically difficult enough by anyone's standards has fallen from fashion as the organs capable of doing it true justice have disappeared having been replaced by instruments with "more musical" low pressure reeds, now beginning to be so out of fashion on the Continent?

 

Best wishes

 

Spot

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Hi all,

 

It's good to be back after an accident on the boat put me out of circulation for a while. My ankle and knee have required a little rehabilitation, and I'm back to what might, quite literally, be called "First Steps at the Organ". At least the pedal part of the Widor 5 Toccata isn't quite Manari's Concert Study on the Salve Regina ...

 

To the matter at hand - I use an old Hamelle of Widor 5, which I've always found quite serviceable. In fact, it used to be my father's, although it's not nearly old enough to be the first edition that he used (which I strongly suspect to have been Hamelle, too). And therein lies a story.

 

During WWII, while training in the New World, my father arranged a "pilgrimage" to take a couple of lessons from Joseph Bonnet. He prepared some Bach, Franck, Bonnet ... and the Widor 5 Toccata. This last was apparently received somewhat coolly, although the Great Man didn't give any reason. Bonnet neverthless took my father's performance in hand, showing him what he regarded as the proper way to perform it.

 

Whereas the Hamelle edition shows only the first two right hand semiquavers opening the first few bars as being tied, my father said that Bonnet tied the first two semiquavers with this figuration in each bar. And as to that final long, high F, it was held ... and held, with a long, devastating pause between the grace chord and the final chord, during which that top F screams out alone. This is the way I inherited the piece, and still play it.

 

And now I await your gasps of horror!

 

Rgds

MJF

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Here here regarding the other movements - I can't decide whether I like the first or the second more, but either I prefer to the Toccata. To my shame I haven't actually learnt the rest of the symphony, I did get a bit put off by the technical challenges in earlier movements. Of course, the final movement is hardly easy, but as every wedding organist has to have it in their repertoire, I couldn^t avoid it...

 

As for speed, I have a group of friends in a medical organisation who all at various points have asked me to play for their weddings, so I tend to see the same people at each wedding. Needless to say they have without exception asked for the Toccata, and the ongoing joke is that evefry time I play it it's faster than the previous wedding. There is a grain of truth in that, as the first wedding or two were in large reverberant churches and more recent weddings have been in drier acoustics which permit faster speeds :lol:

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bombarde32    0
Hi all,

 

It's good to be back after an accident on the boat put me out of circulation for a while. My ankle and knee have required a little rehabilitation, and I'm back to what might, quite literally, be called "First Steps at the Organ".

 

Rgds

MJF

 

No gasps of horror here, my friend. I just hope that your rehabilitation goes smoothly.

 

With great sympathy, from someone who had his knee ligaments snapped by an errant female skier last February, and still not right!

 

Good luck!

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Here here regarding the other movements - I can't decide whether I like the first or the second more, but either I prefer to the Toccata. To my shame I haven't actually learnt the rest of the symphony, I did get a bit put off by the technical challenges in earlier movements. Of course, the final movement is hardly easy, but as every wedding organist has to have it in their repertoire, I couldn^t avoid it...

 

As for speed, I have a group of friends in a medical organisation who all at various points have asked me to play for their weddings, so I tend to see the same people at each wedding. Needless to say they have without exception asked for the Toccata, and the ongoing joke is that evefry time I play it it's faster than the previous wedding. There is a grain of truth in that, as the first wedding or two were in large reverberant churches and more recent weddings have been in drier acoustics which permit faster speeds :P

As to this, I always preferred the 1st movement, but the 2nd is quite fine too, and the 4th a very necessary "calm before the storm". However, I was never convinced by the 3rd, and never tried to learn it. Probably says more about my prejudices and pretensions than the music itself, but I always thought it just a little too much like merry-go-round calliope stuff.

 

Rgds,

MJF

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No gasps of horror here, my friend. I just hope that your rehabilitation goes smoothly.

 

With great sympathy, from someone who had his knee ligaments snapped by an errant female skier last February, and still not right!

 

Good luck!

Thanks - greatly appreciated. And returned - the road to fitness is indeed long and hard.

 

Rgds,

MJF

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Guest Cynic   
Guest Cynic
As to this, I always preferred the 1st movement, but the 2nd is quite fine too, and the 4th a very necessary "calm before the storm". However, I was never convinced by the 3rd, and never tried to learn it. Probably says more about my prejudices and pretensions than the music itself, but I always thought it just a little too much like merry-go-round calliope stuff.

 

Rgds,

MJF

 

 

I know exactly what you mean.

 

I may stir up disagreement by saying so, but I'm not convinced that any of the Widor Symphonies are strong in every movement. Maybe that is the point - they are 'taste of the times' and not so much Symphonies at all, but suites of pieces in related keys from which any contemporary player might have been expected to draw one or two pleasant items to learn and perform. When publishing these, was Widor sometimes being practical (in a sales sense) rather than pursuing High Art for Art's sake? I wonder.

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Guest Cynic   
Guest Cynic

Whoops! [i was trying to add to my post above!]

 

I know exactly what you mean.

 

I may stir up disagreement by saying so, but I'm not convinced that any of the Widor Symphonies are strong in every movement. Maybe that is the point - they are 'taste of the times' and not so much Symphonies at all, but suites of pieces in related keys from which any contemporary player might have been expected to draw one or two pleasant items to learn and perform. When publishing these, was Widor sometimes being practical (in a sales sense) rather than pursuing High Art for Art's sake? I wonder.

 

I have seen some of Vierne's and Widor's concert programmes. It certainly seems to have been the practice of both men to play excerpts from their symphonies in preference to ever playing one through complete in any recital.

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Whoops! [i was trying to add to my post above!]

I have seen some of Vierne's and Widor's concert programmes. It certainly seems to have been the practice of both men to play excerpts from their symphonies in preference to ever playing one through complete in any recital.

 

I think the Vierne symphonies work much better as a whole than the Widor ones. I have never played all of any of the Widor symphonies, and in most cases I wouldn't even try to, with perhaps the exception of the 5th, where I think all the movements work to a greater or lesser extent. Further to an earlier comment on this thread, I quite like the third movement. :P

 

Jonathan

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john carter    0
Further to an earlier comment on this thread, I quite like the third movement. :P

I always feel it would be a good piece for accompanying a silent film. A bit of menace, a chase or two and then a tender romantic scene to finish. Aaah!

JC

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